A retired midwife who has delivered thousands of babies and devoted 30 years of her life to supporting a hospice has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Elizabeth Timmons, who lives in Watford, was awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to terminally ill patients, having supported the Peace Hospice since it was founded.

The 85-year-old remains a very popular figure in the community, having been responsible for delivering so many babies during a career spanning more than 45 years, including the children of several Watford FC players which earned her the nickname of the “footballer’s midwife”.

Mother to Geraldine and Kevin, her daughter said: “She is like a modern-day Florence Nightingale, being regularly stopped when our shopping and regaled with stories of how people’s sons, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren were so carefully, respectfully and lovingly brought into the world.

“She is always ready with a story or funny joke and continues to help friends in the community whenever she can. A truly wonderful woman.”

Elizabeth continues to volunteer in the Inpatient Unit at the hospice, having supported it with ongoing fundraising activities which have raised more than £300,000 as a result of her efforts alone, as well as helping to set up the Irish and Holyrood hospice support groups.

Chief executive Jackie Tritton said: “We are so proud that Elizabeth’s incredible contribution to our work has been recognised.

“She has devoted almost 30 years to the hospice, providing support and comfort to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families in our Inpatient Unit, and also with ongoing fundraising to ensure we can continue to do what we do.

“Elizabeth has been a vital part of Peace Hospice Care since we began and is most deserving of this award.”

Watford Observer:

Elizabeth with former Watford MP Clare Ward and Prime Minster Gordon Brown at a Downing Street reception

Born in Inchigeelagh in Ireland, Elizabeth was one of five daughters and was tempted into nursing after hearing stories from her cousins who were doctors in Nigeria.

Elizabeth studied in Dublin, moved to London and then decided to dedicate her life to midwifery, training in Pembury Hospital in Kent.

After working in London, marriage and moving to Watford in 1961, Elizabeth worked on night duty in the maternity unit, which was located in King Street at that time, whilst caring for her young children.

Watford Observer:

Elizabeth during her time as a young nurse

It was at this time that she started to get involved in charitable work, setting up a play group because she felt nursery and childcare was insufficient for young children.

Her involvement with what became the Peace Hospice started in the 1990s when, together with a small group of women, she started raising money for a mobile hospice unit for day patients.

This project escalated as more people became involved and the Peace Hospice was founded, with entertainer Roy Castle opening the mobile unit and becoming a firm supporter along with others including Watford manager Graham Taylor.

Elizabeth’s involvement in the hospice continues to this day, hosting garden parties, coffee mornings, auctions and dances to raise money in addition to volunteering in the Inpatient Unit.

Watford Observer:

Elizabeth with Princess Michael of Kent at the Peace Hospice

Her friend Terry Sullivan said: “Elizabeth has a belief strong enough to make a difference, turn an idea into reality and to keep going with both fundraising and volunteer work to support her community and fellow man with a sustained, long-term commitment. It is a commitment that will continue for the rest of her life and is a great legacy, worthy of recognition.”

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